Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Hawaiian partners announced the first marine debris action plan to be implemented in the United States. The goal of the plan is to actively assess and remove man-made debris such as plastics and lost fishing gear from Hawaii’s coastal waters. Each year, thousands of pounds of marine debris wash ashore on this delicate island chain.

We’ve all been working to address marine debris in Hawai‘i in our own way for years. It’s great to have a plan that we can all contribute to and work together on to tackle marine debris in Hawaii,” said Marvin Heskett, member of the Surfrider Foundation’s Oahu Chapter.

The plan establishes a cooperative framework for marine debris activities and aims to reduce

  • the current backlog of marine debris
  • fishing gear and solid waste disposal at sea
  • land-based debris in waterways
  • the number of abandoned and derelict vessels

For too long marine debris has marred the natural beauty of our ocean and threatened our marine ecosystem,” said Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. “I have long championed a coordinated effort to mitigate the many tons of debris that suffocate our coral, kill our fish and aquatic mammals and blanket our coastlines. This is a critical issue for our state and I am proud that Hawaii is taking the lead in finding a solution to this global problem.”

The Marine Debris Program has been developed by NOOA in cooperation with Hawaiian governmental agencies, NGO’s, academia, and private business partners. The plan builds on ongoing and past marine debris community efforts.

You can find the plan here. The site also has a video for download.